Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre, together with Prince Edward Island Transportation and Public Works Minister Gail Shea, today announced a new road construction project funded under the Canada/PEI Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP). The latest project to be approved under the program is an intersection upgrade and highway widening along the Trans Canada Highway, locally referred to as the Charlottetown Perimeter Highway or Riverside Drive. The $2.3 million project will extend a four-lane section of Riverside Drive from Southgate Avenue to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital intersection, add a new right-turn-only intersection at Pioneer Drive, and widen and expand Murchison Lane to Acadian Drive and Patterson Drive past the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. “Through the Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program, the Government of Canada is once again demonstrating its commitment to improving Canada’s highways,” said Mr. Lapierre. “This project will enhance safety and ease congestion on this well-travelled route.” “The Charlottetown bypass is an essential transportation link for people, goods and services,” said Transportation and Public Works Minister Gail Shea. “This project will increase road safety for area residents and the travelling public. It will also improve the capacity and efficiency of the Charlottetown bypass as a valuable transportation and trade corridor.” The proposed design reflects input from consultations with area residents, the City of Charlottetown and officials from the Provincial Health Services Authority, which have been ongoing since April. The design includes the development of sidewalks along Murchison Lane to Patterson Drive for the use of area residents, hospital staff, patients and visitors. Steps have also been taken to minimize the impact on the surrounding environment. Construction on the project is conditional on successful completion of an environmental assessment, expected by the end of September, in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and related due diligence. “Widening this portion of the Trans Canada Highway is an important step in helping Prince Edward Island’s infrastructure,” said Charlottetown MP Shawn Murphy. “In particular, it will benefit the people of Charlottetown since residents and goods will be able to travel more efficiently and safely.” “Traffic which currently uses the Pioneer Drive intersection to access Riverside Drive will now be able to do so more safely through the existing signalized intersections at Murchison Lane or Southgate Avenue,” said Community and Cultural Minister Elmer MacFadyen, local MLA for the area. “I’m pleased to see these important safety measures move forward.” Tenders for the project will be issued in the near future with work scheduled to be completed late this fall. The Canada/PEI Strategic Highway Infrastructure Program (SHIP) is a five-year, 50-50, cost-shared agreement signed in 2002 to provide joint funding for highway improvement projects along Prince Edward Island’s portion of the National Highway System. The total value of the highway construction component of the Canada/PEI SHIP Agreement is $11.6 million ($5.8 million federal/$5.8 million provincial). Federal funding for this project is built into the existing financial framework.